Validation interviews – what to expect?

What happens during an NCRQ validation interview?

If you complete a Certificate or Diploma level qualification with NCRQ, you will be assessed throughout the course by online activities, and more formally by undertaking a number of assignments. These are in-depth scenarios that require you to demonstrate your skills in critical analysis, understanding concepts, undertaking research, and application of all of this to a given scenario.

Because NCRQ sets the scenario, we can be sure that it is of sufficient difficulty – by putting in a number of technical, operational, intellectual or ethical challenges. In this way, there is a significantly higher level of assurance from an NCRQ assessment than an NVQ, whereby it is not usually possible to determine if the student has missed anything based on the evidence provided.

Similarly, the knowledge, understanding and skills are assessed in significantly more depth than an examination-based qualification such as NEBOSH – a typical NCRQ assessment may require 15 hours of study, compared to a superficial 20 minutes for an average NEBOSH examination question.

However, one of the drawbacks of NCRQ’s groundbreaking approach to health and safety qualifications is that students are not observed undertaking the work. Because of this, every student undertakes an online validation interview with one of our highly trained officers before their qualification is awarded.

The purpose of an interview

At the point in which a validation interview is arranged, a student has already submitted all of their assessments, and these have all been passed. A student has successfully demonstrated by their written submissions that they have met all of the assessment criteria – and so they are competent in every single area.

The purpose of the validation interview, therefore, is to verify that the work has been completed by the student themselves.

Booking the interview

When all of the assessments for a unit have been passed and the grades and assessor feedback released, students will receive a link to book their validation interview. Here you will be able to select a suitable date and time for the interview. Standard validation interviews take place within office hours and are booked in 15-minute intervals.

At the booking stage, you will be required to give your contact details. You will, of course, need some sort of device with a camera – either a smartphone, tablet or computer – and either a Skype or a FaceTime account. You will be required to give your username or phone number at the booking stage so that our team can contact you.

You should also ensure at this point that you have an acceptable form of photographic ID that meets our requirements. This is generally any government-issued ID such as a passport or driving licence.

The interview process

At the allotted appointment time, you will need to have your smartphone to hand or be at your computer, ready to receive our call. Make sure you are in a quiet area where you are unlikely to be disturbed. There should be nobody else in the room with you. Over the years, we have undertaken validation interviews in some very interesting places, including oil platforms, ships at sea, a desert, and several in a pub (we really don’t recommend this!).

You will then be called by one of our team. Our interviewers are all lovely people and, although the purpose of the interview is of course very important, the interviews are very informal. They take the form of a casual chat and really are nothing to be afraid of. Don’t worry about being on camera either as our team do these interviews all day, every day and so really don’t mind what you look like! If you wear a face covering for religious reasons, please let us know in advance and we can, of course, ensure you are interviewed by someone of the same gender.

We thought that the following went without saying, but apparently not:

  • Please do not attempt to undertake a validation interview whilst driving; and
  • Please ensure that you are appropriately clothed!

You will be asked to confirm some of your personal details, and to hold up your government identification to the camera. As long as you match the picture, the first stage is over!

You will then be asked a number of questions about various aspects of your submitted assessments. We can’t give away too many details of these, but the questions are carefully selected to check that you are the author of those assessments. The questions are not there to trip you up – remember that you have already demonstrated that you have met the assessment criteria. They may, for example, ask about specific details of your assessments, what actions you took, and your thought processes.

After a number of questions have been asked, the interview will be rounded off by asking if you have any questions or feedback for us – we really do want to hear any feedback that you may have as this helps us make our qualifications better than ever!

If you miss the interview, or are more than two minutes late for your allotted time, we will need to reschedule. This isn’t a problem, however because our available slots are usually filled up quickly, your new appointment is likely to be on a different day.

Extended validation interviews

Very occasionally, we may not be able to immediately validate you after your interview. This can be due to a number of factors and is nothing to worry about. In these cases, you will be invited to participate in an additional extended validation interview. These interviews typically take a little longer – usually about 3o minutes, and are undertaken with a senior tutor. They usually involve a more in-depth discussion about the assessments, how they were completed, and the student’s understanding of the concepts. The reasons an extended interview may occur include:

  • The interviewing officer was not completely satisfied that the student could fully and competently answer all of the questions given to them
  • A video analysis system scored the student behaviour above a certain threshold
  • A student has been previously found guilty of malpractice and extended validation has been imposed as a sanction
  • A student is randomly selected for an interview for quality assurance purposes.

Further guidance will be given in these circumstances, but selection for an extended interview is usually routine and nothing to worry about!

After the interview

Within an hour or so of the interview, you will receive an email, usually confirming that the interview was successful, and when you can expect to receive your certificate. We try to get these out as quickly as possible, but sometimes they may take up to eight weeks to arrive (because sometimes our partners aren’t quite as efficient as we are!). You will also receive one of our branded lanyards to impress your colleagues!

You can then take a well-deserved break, and celebrate your achievement!


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